Articles ~ Actions ~ Events, Thurs., Jan. 16 – Mon. Jan. 20 (from Adrienne Fong)

Am not back posting on a regular basis.

– Please post your events on Indybay:

    Thank you to all who are – See Indybay for other events.

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on events! 


A. Martin Luther King The Three Evils of Society (Youtube)

B. #Moms4Housing: Meet the Mother & Daughter Armed Police Just Evicted from a Vacant House in Oakland – January 16, 2020

C. Large Military-Grade Drones Could Soon Be Flying Over Your Backyard  – January 16, 2020

D.What all of us owe Puerto Rico – January 15, 2020

E. Israeli Lawyer Denied Position Due to Her Defense of Palestinian Activists in Court – January 14, 2020               

F. California City Bans Coal, Blocking Key Export Route to Asia – January 14, 2020

G. Texas just became the first state to shut the door on refugees – January 10, 2020


1. To Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO, and all major investors in fossil fuels


2. Ban Facial Recognition on Campus



Thursday, January 16 – Monday, January 20

Thursday, January 16

1. Thursday, 6:30pm – 9:00pm, Born on the MOVE with Mike Jr, Debbie, and Mike Africa Sr

The Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics
518 Valencia St. (nr. 16th St.)

Wheelchair accessible

Join us for a powerful event featuring MOVE organization members Mike Africa Jr, and his parents Mike Sr and Debbie Africa – two former political prisoners who won their freedom after each were held for 40 years in prison.

Using storytelling and hip hop, Mike Africa Jr will take us on a journey of his life from the day that he was secretly born in prison, to the bombing of his family on May 13th, 1985, up to his parents’ release from prison. Mike will then be joined by his parents Debbie and Mike Africa, Sr for a moderated conversation.

Hosts: Critical Resistance, Prison Radio, Critical Resistance Oakland, Freedom Archives


2. Thursday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, 5G Community Discussion with Dafua Tachover, Max Anderson, Lloyd Morgan

South Berkeley Senior Center
2939 Ellis St. (nr. Ashby BART)

5G Community DISCUSSION with world-renowned 5G expert DAFNA TACHOVER Esq.
Hosted by Berkeley City Council Members Ben Bartlett and Cheryl Davila with WIreless Radiation Education and Defense (WiRED.)
Plus retired electronic engineer/scientist LOYD MORGAN, an industry spokesperson (invited), and former Council member MAX ANDERSON. Followed by audience comments/questions.

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH 5G and other wireless telecom facilities (aka WTF)?
5th Generation (not to be confused with 5 Gigahertz) will cause a drastic increase in: surveillance, hacking, fire risk, interference with weather prediction, property devaluations, energy use, worker endangerment, industrial clutter, co$t to cities and individuals, and adverse health/environmental effects due to radiation! For more info, see the indybay news item 2020/01/04/18829432.php by Jenny Miller, “The 5G Juggernaut: Coming Soon to a Utility Pole Outside Your Home.”

See site for bios and info


Friday, January 17

3. Friday, 7:30am – 9:00am, Wake Up Call: Part of MLK’s Radical Legacy Weekend

MacArthur BART Station Plaza
555 40th St.

Join SURJ’s Mobilization Committee for our annual “Wake-Up Call” during the 6th Annual Reclaim Martin Luther King Jr.’s Radical Legacy Weekend. We’ll be calling commuters in with broadcasts of inspiring MLK speeches, passing out information on alternatives to calling the police, and inviting people to come out to Monday’s big MLK Day rally and march (see for more info).

Host: SURJ – Oakland Bay Area


4. Friday, 10:00am – 1:00pm, Oakland Climate Strike and Resilient Village

Oscar Grant Plaza
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (nr. 12th St. BART)

Join Oakland youth for a community Resilient Village to raise awareness on climate resilience and how youth can stand up for climate justice, with hands-on workshops on herbal making, civic engagement, art, water catchment, live art making, youth performances, an open mic, and more. This event will provide youth with strategies for addressing climate change within their families and communities and ways to work for climate justice on a local and global scale. This action is youth led and co-hosted by YVA, Mycelium Youth Network, Planting Justice and others.

This action is youth led and co-hosted by YVA, Mycelium Youth Network, Anti Police Terror Network, Planting Justice and others.


5. Friday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, Protest the San Francisco Police Officers Association  – Weekly protest.

San Francisco Police Officers Association
800 Bryant  @ 6th Street (outside)

Mothers on the March Against Police Murders and Black and Brown for Justice, Peace and Equality

    ‘Declare the Police Officers Association a Non Grata Organization’

    ‘Jail Killer Cops!’

The Police Officers Association claims to be a union, in reality it is an organization that is based on racism, white supremacy and Nazi ideology. It protects police officers that come into our communities to terrorize and murder our black and brown brothers and sisters.

We demand that the San Francisco Police Officers Association be shut down!

All are welcomed to stand with us even if you can only make it for a few minutes

6. Friday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Forum Honoring MLK Jr. “Money for War, But Can’t Feed the Poor?”

2969 Mission St.

Last month, Congress passed and Trump signed a record Pentagon budget of $738 billion — $738,000,000,000 — more than the next 10 countries in the world combined! The Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate supported this obscene war budget; without them, it wouldn’t have passed. At the same time, the Trump regime announced it was kicking up to four million people, half of them children, off food stamps starting January 1, 2020 — and then moved to start another deadly war in the Middle East.

Across the country, people are fighting back including with the Poor People’s Campaign, a revival of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 campaign that worked to unite and organize all poor and oppressed people against the evils of poverty, racism, and war. Join us to discuss how we can fight to fund people’s needs, not more wars!


7. Friday, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Persepolis – film & discussion

Revolution Books Berkeley
2444 Durant Ave.

We are screening this beautiful film now to stand with the Iranian people! NO WAR ON IRAN!


Saturday, January 18

8. Women’s March- See Indybay for listings:

Areas listed:

 Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Marin, San Francisco, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Santa Rosa, San Jose, Pleasanton, San Mateo

9. Saturday, 10:00am – 5:00pm & Sun, Jan. 19, 10:00am – 5:00pm, Guerilla Housing: Reclaiming Dr.King’s Legacy of Radical Action

East 12th & 14th Ave.

Join us to build “The Right to Exist” Village – January 18 and 19, 10am-5pm – no experience necessary!

For the past three years, The Village in Oakland #feedthepeople has participated in Reclaiming Dr. Martin Luther King’s Radical Legacy by reclaiming unused and/or neglected public landed owned by the City of Oakland to build temporary emergency shelter for our brothers and sisters living on the streets.

The goals are simple:
1. Let people get off the ground, out of tents and into something safe until permanent deeply affordable housing is accessible to our people.
2. Show how illegitimate, ineffective, cruel and inhumane the mayor and her Encampment Management Team are in approaching the homeless crisis that her decisions helped create.
3. Connect the dots between gentrification, the housing affordibility crisis and the homeless state of emergency.
4. Inspire regular people like us – both housed and unhoused – to take matters in our own hands and provide community driven solutions since city hall refuses to.

This past year, we focussed on upgrading existing curbside communities by building homes and communal kitchens, upgrading self made homes,, defending self built homes from demolition, and improving conditions at curbside communities that are neglected or brutalized by the mayor’s encampment management team.

One such community is in East Oakland behind the Burger King on East 12th and 14th Ave. We built three emergency homes, are providing regular trash service, and supported the residents in their political empowerment – in particular learning about their rights and developing self government.

This Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, instead of moving on to an empty piece of public land, we call all housed and unhoused volunteers to concentrate our energies on this East Oakland encampment and finish building “The Right To Exist” Curbside Community – that the longterm residents have designed and named.

On January 18 & 19th from 10am to 5pm, we will build 5 tiny homes, a communal kitchen, a solar shower, a bike operated washer, raised garden beds, and paint murals on the three finished homes. We will serve food all day, do a huge trash pick up along East 12th from 14th to 22nd Ave, and offer workshops and services for our unhoused brothers and sisters:

If you want to help us prepare, you can join a committee by contacting Needa Bee at 510-355-7010

Host: The Village in Oakland #feedthepeople

Info:  and

10. Saturday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, ReclaimMLK: DeGentriFUKation/Stolen Land Press Tour of BlacArthur

Meet at:

8031 BlackArthur Bl (MacArthur)

Occupied deep east Huchuin (Oakland) like most intentionally “Blighted” poor peoples of color neighborhoods across Amerikkklan has literally hundreds of hoarded &vacant parcels of Mama Earth being hoarded by realESnakes,speculators,bankkks & devil-opers waiting for the right moment to strike aka the occupied mama earth aka “property” values to “rise” -This is the standard operating formula for GentriFUKation & we houseless/indigenous poor peoples trying to build our own self-determined solution to homelessness we call Homefulness are right in the middle of ground zero of this violent destruction, which is why when we first began this liberation movement we launched DeGentrification Zones – DGZ A CityWide Plan for Decolonization and have worked everyday, while manifesting/ building to help long-time residents stay here

The violent hoarding, gating, fencing and GentriFUKing of BlackArthur (MacArthur), East, North, West Oakland and all of the Bay Area leads to displacement, foreclosure, removal, evictions and homelessness of life-long Oakland/Bay Area residents and has thousands of us dying on the streets while others hoard, occupy and steal -join us on 6th Annual Reclaim MLK’s Radical Legacy Weekend to pray ,remember vision, ,degentriFUK &liberate for ancestors ,mama earth & all of us …

Hosts: POOR Magazine + 6 Other groups


Sunday, January 19

11. Sunday, 9:30am – 11:00am, The Poor People’s Campaign in the Bay Area

Unitarian Universalist Society of SF
1187 Franklin

Virginia Hollins – Davidson, member of the steering committee of the Poor People’s Campaign and the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists will speak about the Poor People’s Campaign in the S.F. Bay Area.


12. Sunday, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, Solitary Man: A Visit To Pelican Bay State Prison

UU Center
1187 Franklin St.

Solitary Man is a moving and humanizing story of life in solitary confinement based on letters from prisoners at Pelican Bay.

In Solitary Man, Charlie Hinton as himself visits Otis Washington played by Fred Johnson a prisoner since its opening in 1989.

With a sprinkle of jazz mixed with powerful words as the two get to know each other makes this play a must see performance.


13. Sunday, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Alternatives to Policing: How Not to Call the Cops Ever

First Congregational Church of Oakland (UCC)
2501 Harrison St.


guests in wheelchairs or scooters need to drive or be dropped off at the top of the back parking lot.
* Wheelchair users do access the building with assistance by driving or being dropped off at the top of the back parking lot.

* Unless a member of your group has propped the door open, wheelchair users will need assistance opening the blue door since there is not yet a push button switch on it.
* Once inside, most ground-floor rooms are accessible using a wheelchair.
* Please come scent-free;

This month we will learn from a community of people who have practiced not calling the police for more than 20 years while living through their own collective traumas, colonization, gentrification, family violence, eviction, incarceration, displacement, betrayal and attempted takedown.

Here is a description from POOR Magazine/Homefulness:

“This workshop will include teaching on poor and traumatized peoples accountability, how to REdefine a western wite supremacist notion of security, and how to hold each other through trauma and into a true definition of interdependent safety.

Walking this walk among a poor and indigneous peoples-led movement means facing our demons ALL THE TIME because we all come out of collective trauma experiences of racism, wite supremacy, ablism, family violence, false borders, eviction, houselessness, criminalization, elder/child abuse, sexual violence, rape, incarceration, poLICE violence genderism, hate crimes and so much more.”


POOR Magazine is a poor people led/indigenous people led, grassroots non-profit,arts organization dedicated to providing revolutionary media access, art, education and advocacy to silenced youth, adults and elders in poverty across the globe.

HOMEFULNESS is a poor people led/indigenous people led revolution: a sweat equity, permanent co-housing, education, arts and social change project for houseless and formerly houseless families and individuals in deep East Oakland/Huichin


A growing coalition of organizations in the Bay Area is coming together to explore alternatives to calling the police to our campuses and into our neighborhoods. Over the coming year, we will be offering a series of workshops to explore alternatives to calling the police.

Hosts: First Congregational Church of Oakland, POOR Magazine, Kahilla Community Synagogue, APTP, SURJ Oakland Bay Area, JVP


14. Sunday, 4:00pm – 8:00pm, Santa Rita Jail Support

Meet at:

Lake Merritt BART Station (Outside)
800 Madison St.

Join APTP in sharing hot food, drinks, and solidarity with folks visiting loved ones at and getting released from Santa Rita Jail!

Let us know you’ll be there by sending us a text at (510) 686-3284.

Prisons and jails function to repress, warehouse and extract labor from primarily those of us who are Black or poor. We believe that solidarity is a weapon of resistance, and that we must respond to the basic needs of our community while also confronting state terror.

We do not positively engage with the racist pigs who work at the jail, as they are willing agents of the state that criminalizes, incarcerates and murders us.


Monday, January 20

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

(Actual birthday is January 15th)

OAKLAND EVENTS – Part of Reclaim MLK’s Radical Legacy

15. Monday, 8:30am – 9:30am, Baby Breakfast “Blockade” for #moms4housing

Oscar Grant Plaza
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

Come bring blankets, breakfast items and your babies for story and music time at Oscar Grant Plaza. Join us for a discussion on how to stay active in the movement with your young one in tow and how to support #moms4housing

This will Be before and in preparation for APTP reclaim MLK march

Host: Abundant Beginnings


16. Monday, 9:00am – 11:00am#reclaimMLK Young Activists Rally

Oscar Grant Plaza
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

Come join us as we raise our powerful voices and reclaim the radical legacy of MLK. Come out with your whole family for stories, songs, chants, and mini lessons. This action is focused on young activist ages 2-10 and their adult allies.

We will be joining up with the main march starting at 12pm. The children’s contingent will be meeting towards the front of the march.

Host: Abundant Beginnings


17. Monday, 12Noon – 4:00pm, 6th Annual Reclaim MLK’s Radical Legacy Rally and March

Gather at:

Oscar Grant Plaza
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (nr. 12th Street BART)

On Monday, January 20, the Anti Police-Terror Project will lead a mass mobilization of people from across the Bay Area starting at Oakland’s Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway, for the 6th Annual March and Rally to Reclaim King’s Radical Legacy.

Join APTP for the 6th annual Reclaim Kings Radical Legacy March. For six years running, the APTP Reclaim MLK event has been the only MLK March in the city of Oakland and is looked to by hundreds of Oaklanders as one of the premiere events of the year; bringing together people across race, class and political ideology with a commitment to build a just and equitable Oakland that Dr. King would be proud of.

The MLK march demands are:

 Housing as a Human Right, Close the Camps, No School Closures, End Police Repression, Climate Justice, No More War.

For decades, MLK’s legacy has been whitewashed. Often portrayed as a passive figure, in truth he was a radical leader demanding rational change: an end to capitalism, to war, to empire, to poverty, and to white supremacy. Communities in Oakland and across the country take this opportunity every year to celebrate the true spirit of this revolutionary.

“January 2020 marks another 10 years of gentrification, displacement, and a worsening houselessness crisis. Another 10 years of the Bay Area’s elected leaders putting profits over people. Another 10 years of government for and by developers, tech companies, and banks – instead of for and by the People.” said Cat Brooks, former Oakland mayoral candidate and co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project.

Accessibility Information:
Kid & family friendly!
Snacks & water provided
Porta potties available at beginning & end rallies, including 1 ADA porta potty at each location
Scent-free zone will be created at beginning & end rallies, as well as supported during the march. *Please come to the march as scent-free as possible!*
Seating available at beginning & end rallies
ASL interpretation will likely be available – to be confirmed ASAP!
Vehicle transport available during the march! Access vehicles will be following right behind the crowd. Currently no vehicle is able to transport someone in a wheelchair. Contact if you have such a vehicle to offer during the march!
Medic team will be on site throughout the whole event!

A weekend of events leading up to Monday’s Rally and March include:

Wake Up Call: by SURJ Oakland/BayArea, Friday, 1/17/10, 7:30-9am, MacArthur BART Station Plaza

Oakland Climate Strike and Resilience Village, Friday, 1/17/20, 10am-1pm at Oscar Grant Plaza

Degentrifukation Tour of BlackArthur, Saturday, 1/18/20, 12pm, Poor Magazine, 8032 MacArthur Blvd

Alternatives to Policing: How Not to Call the Police, Sunday, 1/19/20, 2-5pm, First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison St, Oakland

Host: APTP

Info:  and


   Listing of SF Events:

18. Monday, 9:00am – 11:00am, 2020 Caltrain NorcalMLK Celebration Train to SF

Location: starting at San Jose Diridon Station , stops at Palo Alto and San Mateo,
then on to San Francisco’s Caltrain Station

Cost: FREE (tickets go fast)

Take the Caltrain NorcalMLK Celebration Train to the MLK2020 celebration events in
San Francisco on Monday, January 20, and honor the life and legacy of Dr. King through exciting activities for all.

This free commemorative service is a program of the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation, in partnership with Caltrain, and it signals the region’s dedication to continue the service begun by the late Coretta Scott King.

–San Jose’s Diridon Station at 9:45am (65 Cahill St., San Jose 95110)

–Palo Alto Station at 10:05am (95 University Ave., Palo Alto 94301)

–San Mateo Station at 10:25am (385 First Ave., San Mateo 94401)

Once at CalTrain SF, celebrants will be able to immediately take part in the MLK2020 March which begins at this station, or head directly to Yerba Buena Gardens to take part in a full day of festivities. For more information about the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, visit

Reserve your complimentary commemorative tickets for departure from one of the above stations today, and pick up your tickets at your point of departure on Monday, January 20, one hour before travel.

See site for details:

19. Monday, 9:30am – 12Noon, MLK 2020: Martin Luther King Jr. Annual March/Parade San Francisco

Begins at San Francisco Caltrain Station, 700 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107,
then march to Yerba Buena Gardens, between Third and Fourth, Mission and Folsom Streets

The 1.5 mile journey crosses the Lefty O’Doul Bridge and stops at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park to commemorate the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, a symbol of violence and victory in the civil rights movement. On arriving at Yerba Buena Gardens an interfaith commemoration will honor the legacy of Dr. King Jr.


See Indybay for other events


January 15, 2020 by Common Dreams

The amendment is likely to be tied up in court battles following a Justice Department statement that the deadline for ratification has passed.

by Julia Conley, staff writer


Supporters of the ERA amendment wave to arrivals at the start of the Virginia General Assembly, which went solidly blue in 2019 in Richmond, Va. (Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Women’s rights advocates celebrated Wednesday as the Virginia legislature became the 38th in the nation to approve the Equal Rights Amendment, nearly 100 years after activists first called for equality between men and women to be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

The approval of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) by Virginia’s state Senate and House means that the required three-quarters of U.S. states have now voted to ratify the amendment, which was passed by Congress in 1972.

The law aims to constitutionally guarantee the same legal rights regarding pay equity and other workplace discrimination to all Americans regardless of sex. It also provides protections for women from domestic abuse and pregnancy discrimination.

“For the women of Virginia and the women of America, the resolution has finally passed,” said Eileen Filler-Corn, the first female state House speaker in Virginia’s history, as the amendment was approved.

The resolution was passed with votes of 59-40 in the House and 28-12 in the Senate.

Although the approval of the ERA was celebrated as an historic achievement, for the time being the amendment’s step forward is largely symbolic.

As Virginia’s newly Democrat-controlled legislature was debating the amendment last week, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department issued a statement saying that because a 1982 deadline for ratification passed with only 35 states approving the ERA at the time, it is too late to add the amendment to the Constitution.

Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel wrote that Congress must start the process of ratifying the ERA over again and once again gain the approval of 38 states. The process could be further complicated by the fact that legislatures in Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, and South Dakota have rescinded their earlier approval of the ERA in recent years.

Pro-ERA groups including Equal Means Equal filed a federal lawsuit in Massachusetts earlier this month arguing that the deadline was not constitutionally binding.

“We are not surprised that the Trump administration acted swiftly to declare its opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment,” Wendy Murphy, a lawyer for Equal Means Equal, told ABC News following the DOJ’s statement. “This development makes our lawsuit even more urgent.”

According to The Washington Post, “several efforts are underway on Capitol Hill to either extend or restart the ratification process.”

ERA advocates have also argued that the rescissions of the five states are not constitutionally sound, but courts have yet to rule on the subject.

Despite the uncertainty over when Virginia’s approval might lead to a constitutional amendment, women’s rights advocates applauded the state for “making history.”

In her speech in favor of passing the amendment, state Sen. Mamie Locke rejected the claims by ERA critics that the law cannot be added to the Constitution.

“There’s no time limit on equal rights,” said Locke.

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Extinction Revolution Unchained

January 14, 2020 (

See more beautiful and courageous action from around the world in XR Unchained.

This week featuring actions of solidarity from all around the world to bring awareness to the #bushfirerebellion!

Colombo, Sri Lanka – in front of the Australian High Commission to demand climate action, part of an international #bushfirerebellion in solidarity with Australia.

Tokyo, Japan – rebels outside the Australian Embassy demand climate action and an end to coal mining #bushfirerebellion

Argentina show sadness and compassion on 10th of Jan for #bushfirerebellion

See more of the beautiful and courageous action from around the global XR community in XR Unchained. There is so much to tell.

The Credibility Gap

It’s difficult to believe Elizabeth Warren’s claim that Bernie Sanders thinks a woman can’t win.

filed 14 January 2020 in2020 ELECTION

Elizabeth Warren has said that Bernie Sanders told her early in the campaign that a woman could not win the 2020 election. Sanders has vehemently denied the allegation. Warren says the comment came during a closed-door meeting with only the two of them in attendance, so in assessing the claim we only have their respective words to go on. 

Up until a few days ago, the two candidates never said anything bad about one another in public. Then Warren accused Sanders of “sending volunteers out to trash me,” after an internal campaign document surfaced giving a mildly critical talking point to door-knockers. (If a voter asked why they should vote for Sanders over Warren—a question to which volunteers should presumably have at least some answer—they pointed out that Bernie has a unique capacity to energize working-class voters and people who don’t typically vote Democratic, while Warren’s voters tend to be more educated and affluent. This is a fact, and it isn’t very harsh. It also appears as if the document was fairly low-level rather than being authorized by Sanders.)

Warren’s new accusation of sexism is a “scorched earth” tactic, the equivalent of pressing the nuclear button to try to destroy the opposing campaign. It makes it unthinkable that Sanders would choose Warren as a vice presidential nominee, should he win the primary. It’s an extremely damaging allegation to lob in the leadup to the Iowa caucus. 

How do we assess its truth, though? Each of them insists the other is wrong. Who should we believe?

In fact, I think it’s fairly easy to conclude that Warren’s claim is highly dubious. This is because:

  1. Bernie Sanders has a long history of saying the opposite of what Warren is accusing him of saying, and thinking a woman can’t win is incompatible with his political worldview.
  2. Elizabeth Warren has a long history of saying untrue and distorted things for politically opportunistic reasons. 

First: Would Bernie say this? Well, here’s Bernie in 1987 lamenting that there aren’t more women in office and encouraging young girls to run. And here’s Bernie in 1988, saying: “In my view, a woman could be elected president of the United States. The real issue is ‘whose side are you on?’” In fact, Bernie encouraged Warren herself to run in 2016, and only entered the race because she declined to do it. This would be a strange thing to do if he thought a woman could not be president.

In fact, the idea that Bernie thought a woman couldn’t beat Trump does not ring true, because it completely contradicts his theory of politics. Bernie does not think Hillary Clinton lost because she was a woman, but because she had bad politics and a bad message. (And she still got more votes! How could anyone possibly believe a woman couldn’t win, since we know she can get the most votes?) Bernie believes, as he said in that 1988 clip, that the real question is which side you are on. In fact, Bernie was criticized by some Clinton supporters for not giving more weight to the impact of sexism. (And for what it’s worth, Tulsi Gabbard says she also met with Bernie before her run and he was nothing but encouraging.) 

Warren is actually very vague about what exactly Bernie said. Her quote is: “Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.” There has been some suggestion that Bernie might have said one thing and Warren heard another: He said he thought rampant sexism would make a woman have a much more difficult time running for president (which Warren and her supporters would agree with), and she interpreted that as “a woman can’t win.” I doubt that he was that pessimistic, because Bernie tends to believe that bigotry can be overcome through building a coalition of working people—the entire point of that 1988 remark was to explain why he thought Jesse Jackson’s race did not make him unelectable. The Washington Post quotes a source with knowledge of the meeting saying Bernie was pointing out that Trump would use dirty sexist tactics, not claiming that a woman couldn’t win.

But Warren did not, in her statement, encourage people to contemplate the possibility of any misunderstanding. She knew her words would become the headline: “Bernie thought a woman couldn’t be president.” She deliberately gave a statement vague enough to allow for the worst possible impression, that Bernie sat there going: “You, run for president? A mere WOMAN? A woman cannot possibly win.” And she knew it would lead to pundits on CNN going: “it does seem like something Bernie Sanders would say, because he has gender issues.” Warren wants people to think Bernie is a sexist, that is the entire point of dropping this in the leadup to Iowa. 


It is not just because Bernie has repeatedly said a woman could be president that I do not believe he told Warren that a woman could not be president. Nor is it just because Warren’s campaign is behind, and desperately in need of some kind of game-changer to improve her fortunes before Iowa—though that certainly gives ample motive to put the worst possible spin on his words. It is also because Elizabeth Warren has a long history of saying things that are deceptive or untrue. 

I think we have to be careful here, because women are accused of untrustworthiness and inauthenticity far more than men. If we are to question Elizabeth Warren’s truthfulness, it needs to not be because of some vague “vibe,” some sense of being “fake,” but because there is evidence. I have rejected petty criticisms of Warren that are based on her manner or her physical movements, and it’s very important to be on guard against double standards. 

But when I say there is reason not to trust that Warren always tells the truth, I mean this because she does not always tell the truth. I have documented these at length in a video and in previous articles for this website. Many of them are small, but they are also shameless and show a willingness to bend the truth for political convenience. They include:

I do not want to keep writing articles harping on Elizabeth Warren’s lack of credibility. I would like to turn my attention to the fight against Donald Trump, and advancing the democratic socialist vision of a better tomorrow. But Warren has launched a destructive attack on Bernie Sanders, branding him a sexist, and it is important to look at her record to see if we can trust her account. For a long time, in the interest of progressive unity, many Democrats have been disinclined to call Warren out on her pattern of misstatements. I think this has been a mistake, and that today’s incident shows why. For a long time, Elizabeth Warren has massaged the truth in ways that are politically convenient, and it is now time to be bluntly critical of her record and her actions. 

We cannot know what transpired between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. What we do know is that Bernie Sanders encouraged Warren to run in 2016 and that he has never thought it impossible for a woman to be president. We also know that Warren does not always represent things accurately. I think it should be clear who is more credible here, and Warren’s candidacy should be discredited.

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Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell‘s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley‘s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”
― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business


Moms 4 Housing members evicted from West Oakland house, arrested

Happened around 5:30am…and the sheriffs think they did a ‘great job’. See site for some photos / video.

Moms 4 Housing members evicted from West Oakland house, arrested

OAKLAND — Four people were arrested before dawn Tuesday morning at the West Oakland house where Moms 4 Housing activists had been squatting, while a small crowd of protesters stood by, chanting, filming and sometimes arguing with deputies.

Members of the group had taken over an empty West Oakland house to call attention to the city’s homelessness crisis, and to protest speculators buying homes and leaving them vacant. Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at the Magnolia Street house around 5:15 a.m. and arrested Mistry Cross and Tolani King, who had been living inside the house, as well as supporters Jesse Turner and Walter Baker. Cross, King and Turner were arrested inside the house, and Baker was arrested outside. All are being booked into Santa Rita Jail on misdemeanor resisting and obstructing charges, Sgt. Ray Kelly said during a media briefing Tuesday morning.

While the sheriff’s office typically enforces evictions during business hours, deputies in this case decided to go in the early morning to avoid a potential confrontation with the throngs of supporters that congregated around the house all day Monday, Kelly said.

“We had to think outside the box a little bit, because this was not a typical eviction,” he said.

Moms 4 Housing members had barricaded themselves inside, and deputies had to use a battering ram and a “tremendous amount of force” to break down the barriers and enter the house, Kelly said. Deputies also deployed a robot to scout out the inside of the house before entering. There were no injuries, and once deputies got inside, no force was used in making the arrests, Kelly said.

“I think we handled this very professionally,” he said. “I think we did a great job.”

The effort cost tens of thousands of dollars, and the sheriff’s office is considering sending the bill to the property owner — real estate investment company Wedgewood, Kelly said.

Just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Moms 4 Housing sent out a mass text message to its supporters, asking them to come to the Magnolia Street house because deputies were banging on the door. Shortly after, deputies handcuffed Cross, King and Turner and led them out of the house.

As she was being led into an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office van, Cross said the fight wasn’t over.

“What happens next is the next movement,” she said. “This is only a piece of it. We’re going to be out in a minute. we’ll be back. We’ll be right back.”

Founder Dominique Walker was not arrested, but ran after the other members as they were being loaded into sheriff’s office vans, visibly upset and having to be restrained by Carroll Fife, regional director of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, who has been working with Moms 4 Housing. Walker did not answer questions from the media.

The women being arrested said their children, who also had been living in the house with them, were safe.

Deputies blocked off the streets around the house before carrying out the eviction, in an effort to keep back the throngs of supporters who have flocked there in the past to support Moms 4 Housing. By 7 a.m., several dozen supporters had shown up anyway, and were chanting next to a line of deputies in riot helmets. As the protesters chanted, law enforcement boarded up the front door of the house, which still had Moms 4 Housing banners hanging outside.

The sheriff’s office plans to hold a briefing on the arrests at its San Leandro substation later this morning, according to Sgt. Ray Kelly.

This is a developing story. Check back for more detail

(Courtesy of Adrienne Fong.)

Articles ~ Actions ~ Events, Monday, Jan. 13 – Wednesday, Jan. 15 (from Adrienne Fong)

Tried sending this out yesterday; computer was down.

Am not back posting on a regular basis.

– Please post your events on Indybay:

    Thank you to all who are – See Indybay for other events.

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on events! 


A. Julian Assange leaves UK court (Youtube)– January 13, 2020

B. Iraqi military base housing US soldiers struck by rockets, injuring four – January 12, 2020

C. Senators introduce another bipartisan bill to give Israel billions of dollars  – January 12, 2020

  See event # 5

D. Japanese American WWII camp survivors, allies hold coalition protest at ICE-contracted Yuba County Jail – January 11, 2020

E. Jamaica Hampton, shot by SFPD, has leg amputated  – January 10, 2020

F. We’re Staying, US Tells Iraq After Being Asked to Leave – January 10, 2020

G. Judge Orders Homeless Mothers to Leave Oakland Home

  See event # 1


1. Save TPS for Somalia


  This week, the Trump administration is deciding whether to allow Somalis  — fleeing ongoing war, floods, disease, famine, and persecution — to remain in the United States. 

2. An international petition to urge the halt of the Jeju 2nd Airport (air force base) project


3. Combat Corruption

4. Tell the Senate to pass the PFAS Action Act of 2019



Monday January 13 – Wednesday, January 15

Monday, January 13

1. Monday, Beginning at 6:30am – on, Stand with Moms 4 Housing – Eviction Support

2928 Magnolia St.,
West Oakland

Public Transportation to the house: From West Oakland BART take the AC Transit #36 line towards UCB – will take you to Adeline & 28th Streets. Then walk about 1/4 mile

Supporters of Moms 4 Housing plan to meet outside the house to protect Walker from eviction, and possibly risk arrests, starting at 6:30 a.m. on Monday.

9:30am People are presently at the home standing in solidarity with the Mothers! Please come if you can.

2. Monday, 3:00pm – 5:00pm,  Emergency Protest Of Pompeo, Commonwealth Club, Jan 13, 3pm

110 Embarcadero

“[U.S. Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo Is the Most Dangerous Man in the World Right Now,” charges Adam Weinstein, national security editor for The New Republic:

“The Washington Post revealed yesterday that President Trump had long been lobbied to kill Soleimani, by none other than Pompeo himself. ‘Pompeo,’ the paper’s national security team reported, ‘first spoke with Trump about killing Soleimani months ago, said a senior U.S. official, but neither the president nor Pentagon officials were willing to countenance such an operation.'”

Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo, who urged Trump to kill Qassem Soleimani, are ardent proponents of Christian Zionism, adds Sarah Posner. Her book ‘Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump’ will be published in May.

“There were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassim Suleimani. We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where,” stated Mr. Pompeo on Fox News. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper responded to President Trump’s assertion without evidence that four American embassies, not just the one in Baghdad, had been targeted by General Suleimani, that he never saw any specific piece of evidence that Iran was planning an attack on the embassies.

Congress was equally in the dark, and deliberates on what to do. Meanwhile, the potential for all-out war escalates daily. We can’t wait. It’s up to US to take to the streets and shut this shit down, NOW, before it’s too late.

Trump/Pence OUT NOW!

Host: Refuse Fascism

Info:  or

3. Monday, 4:45pm – 5:30pm, Press Conference to support Claudia and BVHM

24th & Mission St.

On Monday, Jan. 13th, the City of San Francisco will release a very positive report on the “Stay Over Program” that houses SFUSD families at BVHM. The program was envisioned by our principal Claudia Delarios Moran who is still placed on leave of absence. We are holding a press conference in order to celebrate this achievement and demand that Claudia be reinstated in order to continue the great work at BVHM. Please join us!


Tuesday, January 14

4. Tuesday 9:30am – 12:30am, Court Support for Nia Wilson’s Family

Alameda County Superior Court
1225 Fallon St., 7th Floor, Dept. 12

APTP – posted to arrive by 8:00am

The family of Nia Wilson needs our support at the trial of John Lee Cowell who stabbed our beloved sisters Nia Wilson and Letifah Wilson at the MacArthur BART in July 2018.

The defense has entered a motion to change the venue of the trial, in other words, to move it out of Oakland to a community where less people have heard about it so Cowell will have a more impartial jury.

On Monday Jan 13, the judge will hear arguments for and against moving the trial out of Oakland.
Let’s show up to say, enough is enough, the trial must begin in Oakland.

On Jan 15, jury selection begins, and the trial is scheduled to begin on Feb 10.

Article about trial:

Info:   or

Justice for Nia Wilson:

5. Tuesday, 12Noon – 1:30pm,  No to U.S. Aggressions and Interventions

SF Federal Building
90 7th St. (7th & Mission St.)

Mothers on the March and Black and Brown for Justice, Peace and Equality Demand:

   – An End to the Genocide in Palestine, Yemen and of Native Americans.

   – An End to the  United States government’s interference in Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran etc.

   – An End to the United States funding of aid to these fascists governments and the $40 Billion to Israel.

We demand that United States military budget given to these governments be used in the U.S. to fund homes for the homeless and for healthcare for all, and NOT to fund WAR!

All are welcomed – this is a weekly demonstration every Tuesday.

6. Tuesday, 6:00pm, RISE UP FOR ERIC REASON!!!!

Vallejo City Hall
555 Santa Clara

Please come support the family of Eric Reason at the January 14, 2020 Vallejo City Council meeting. We will be making the follow demands:

1.) Release of the surveillance video;
2.) Discipline for all officers who violated department policy and allowed Eric’s murderer to photograph his body and corrupt the crime scene;
3.) Commitment to a timeline for submitting the investigatory file to the District Attorney; and
4.) Implement a new policy that will ensure that VPD communicates information to families that have lost loved ones.

Vallejo PD issued a highly misleading press release after Eric was killed. In their press release VPD failed to mention that Eric was shot in the back of the head from a distance, as he was running away. The police department has refused to relay the truth in an attempt to protect their brother in blue. The city must release the video immediately to ensure that the truth is revealed!

Vallejo PD takes up to a year to turn over investigatory files to the District Attorney, when there is an officer involved shooting. This timeline is unacceptable


7. Tuesday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, No war on Iran. No war on women. Connecting the dots

1590 Bryant St.

Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!

Into the Streets Saturday, January 25

From war—even nuclear war, casually threatened—to the right to abortion stripped away… THIS IS FASCISM UNFOLDING AND IN POWER. Christian Fundamentalists descend on the city of San Francisco, again, on January 25. The ‘Walk for Life’ is anything but, and will reach our NO NEW WAR ON THE MIDDLE EAST protest, Powell & Market, around 2pm. We must not let them pass without a determined repudiation of the patriarchy, misogyny, and xenophobia they promote.

Walk For Life site:

In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

Host: Refuse Fascism Bay Area

Info:  or

8. Tuesday, 6:30pm – 10:30pm, Richmond City Council vote to phase out coal and pet coal

Richmond City Council Chambers
440 Civic Center Plaza

Advisable to arrive around 6 pm.

The Richmond City Council will vote on an ordinance to phase out the storage and handling of coal and pet coke in the city. At the December council meeting there were hours of testimony, so there will be no public comment at this meeting. But it’s important for the council to see the community support for the ordinance. Wear red (No Coal in Richmond tee shirts will be available).


9. Tuesday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Reading and Discussion Group: “Estamos En La Lucha”

New Valencia Hall
747 Polk St. (nr. Ellis)

Event is also on Wednesday, Jan. 15 – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Wheelchair accessible

To get a copy of the pamphlet, stop by the hall or contact us:
415-864-1278 • •

Host: Freedom Socialist Party – Bay Area

Info:  or

Wednesday, January 15

10. Wednesday, 9:00am – 12Noon, Court Support for Nia Wilson’s Family: Jury Selection Day 1

Alameda County Superior Court
1225 Fallon St., 3rd Floor, Depart. 4

The family of Nia Wilson needs our support at the trial of John Lee Cowell who stabbed our beloved sisters Nia Wilson and Letifah Wilson at the MacArthur BART in July 201


11. Wednesday, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, No More NAFTA’s Rally at Feinstein’s SF Mansion – To Protest USMCA-NAFTA 2.0

2460 Lyon St.

SF Press Conference & Rally

Congress recently passed the United States, Mexico Canada treaty USMCA known as NAFTA 2.0. It will allow continued outsourcing, privatization, and deregulation of labor and environmental standards. It will not stop the outsourcing of US jobs to non-union and slave labor conditions at Mexican plants.

Mexico under NAFTA has privatized the ejidos, railroads, telecom, mines, and part of the oil industry. Their agriculture has also been destroyed by the mass importation of US subsidized corn, corn syrup, and Walmarts which have wiped out large parts of their economy.

The agreement continues to allow US oil and gas companies to continue to drill and take over the resources in Mexican while having no climate protections for Mexico, the US or Canada. It also prohibits Mexico from even labeling agricultural products to protect the health and safety of the Mexican people. It also allows the US to continue to discriminate against Mexican workers in the United States.

USMCA NAFTA 2.0 has been supported by the US Chamber of Commerce, Trump, Nancy Pelosi, most Democrats and AFL-CIO president Trumka. While Trumka is supporting it the IAM Machinists and the United Electrical Workers UE are opposing it.

It is also opposed by the environmental organizations including Earthjustice, Food and Water Action, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, the Sierra Club and the Sunrise Movement.

Many workers trying to build independent unions have also been fired in Mexico in Montamoros, Tecate and GM workers in Silao yet the Mexican government refuses to enforce the labor laws they already have passed.

Initiated by
United Public Workers For Action
Al Rojas, Co-founder UFWA and VP of LCLAA Sacramento


12. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 7:30pm, Dialogue on the Conflict: The role of the United States in bringing peace?

16th & Valencia St.

Part of a series of dialogues we are hosting on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict in partnership with the Mothers on the March.

As a part of its dialogue series Manny’s will be hosting a monthly community conversation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The conflict in Israeli and Palestinian is one of those issues that can be, to many, a third rail. But how can we move forward as an active and engaged citizenry if we can’t talk about the issues that matter, learn to listen to people with differing opinions respectfully, or if we put up walls? To that end we are partnering with the Mothers on the March to create space for the community to come together to share their thoughts and ideas on this topic. All are welcome.

The purpose of these dialogues is to utilize physical space and in person gathering to bring people together to listen, learn, and share their thoughts and opinions on difficult topics.
Each dialogue will be centered around a question. We have no pre-determined answers to these questions and are without an agenda. We will divide attendees into small groups of 3-4 to discuss the question then share what they’ve learned for the larger group.

This month’s question is: What should the United States’ role be in facilitating peace?


Palestine pre-1948, Palestine before Zionism/Israel


13. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, San Francisco Living Wage Coalition Meeting

2940 16th St., Rm. 301

For more information, call 863-1225 or email or visit

The Living Wage Coalition is building a grassroots movement of low-wage workers and their allies to win economic justice.  Anyone who works full time should be able to survive on what they earn and support themselves and their children.  We are engaged in a transformative rethinking of the economy that makes the goals of public policy living wage jobs for all. Come to be a part of discussing next steps in pursuing an economic justice agenda.

 14. Wednesday, 6:30pm, Food Not Bombs Food Sharing

16th & Mission
BART Plaza

We are resuming weekly sharings on Wednesdays at the 16th/Mission BART Plaza

We will prepare and cook at St. John The Evangelist Church, 1661 15th Street (at Julian) beginning at

   4:00 PM every Wednesday, except for the 4th Wednesday of the month                               

We will continue preparing and cooking at Station 40, 3030B 16th Street (between Mission and Julian) beginning at

   3:00 PM on the 4th Wednesday of the month

We always need volunteers.  


After Trump Attacks Bernie on Foreign Policy, Sanders Campaign Says ‘Bring It’

January 10, 2020 by Common Dreams

“Trump is attacking us because he knows we will beat him in the general election,” said Bernie Sanders.

by Jake Johnson, staff writer


Supporters wave signs and hold up their phones as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks at a New Year’s Eve campaign event on December 31, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

After President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign used its massive email list to go after potential 2020 rival Sen. Bernie Sanders on two consecutive days this week, team Sanders welcomed the president’s attacks as a sign that he views the Vermont senator as a serious threat to his hopes for a second term.

“The Trump campaign knows that Bernie is their biggest threat.”
—Bill Neidhardt, Sanders’ Iowa deputy state director.

In an email Wednesday attacking Sanders for condemning the likely illegal U.S. assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, Trump described the senator as “Democrats’ 2020 front-runner” and accused him of repeating “talking points straight from Iran’ Ayatollahs.”

“Bring it,” Sanders foreign policy adviser Matt Duss tweeted in response to the email blast, which appeared to mark the first time of the 2020 cycle that Trump’s campaign has used its list to hit the Vermont senator.

Following the Trump campaign’s second email of the week—headlined, “FACT: Bernie Sanders Is A Wealthy, Fossil Fuel-Guzzling Millionaire”—Sanders said “Donald Trump is attacking us because he knows we will beat him in the general election.”

Sanders staffers echoed the senator’s response to the Trump campaign’s attacks, which come less than a month ahead of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses.

“The Trump campaign knows that Bernie is their biggest threat,” tweeted Bill Neidhardt, Sanders’ Iowa deputy state director.

National polls and surveys of key states have consistently shown Sanders outperforming Trump in hypothetical general election match-ups. Sanders has also been surging in recent Democratic primary polls, as the senator’s speechwriter David Sirota pointed out Thursday.

“It is not a coincidence that Trump suddenly began attacking Bernie the same week this national poll came out showing Bernie now in first place in the Democratic primary race,” Sirota tweeted, citing a Reuters/Ipsos survey that put Sanders at the top of the Democratic field, two percentage points ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.


JANUARY 12, 2020

A blog by Peter Kaminski (

Norman Mailer gave a superb speech at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco on February 20th, 2003. I caught the last third of it replayed on the radio last night, and found a written version today.

With many a perfectly turned phrase, Mailer summarizes well the psyche and politics that brought us to the brink of war.

He argues that democracy is a special thing: “Real democracy comes out of many subtle individual human battles that are fought over decades and finally over centuries, battles that succeed in building traditions. The only defenses of democracy, finally, are the traditions of democracy. When you start ignoring those values, you are playing with a noble and delicate structure. There’s nothing more beautiful than democracy. But you can’t play with it. You can’t assume we’re going to go over to show them what a great system we have. This is monstrous arrogance.”

“Because democracy is noble, it is always endangered. Nobility, indeed, is always in danger. Democracy is perishable. I think the natural government for most people, given the uglier depths of human nature, is fascism. Fascism is more of a natural state than democracy. To assume blithely that we can export democracy into any country we choose can serve paradoxically to encourage more fascism at home and abroad. Democracy is a state of grace that is attained only by those countries who have a host of individuals not only ready to enjoy freedom but to undergo the heavy labor of maintaining it.”

He concludes that it may be time to decide to defend democracy, as well: “Democracy, I would repeat, is the noblest form of government we have yet evolved, and we may as well begin to ask ourselves whether we are ready to suffer, even perish for it, rather than readying ourselves to live in the lower existence of a monumental banana republic with a government always eager to cater to mega-corporations as they do their best to appropriate our thwarted dreams with their elephantiastical conceits.”

Only In America“, by Norman Mailer

Audio stream of Norman Mailer’s speech, worth the listen

Comment (1)

  1. Carl Gillespie wrote::H.G.Wells, novelist and historian of note in his “History of the World” looks at Bagdad in 1081, nearly a thousand years ago and the same factions are at work. Today’s problems there are not a repeat of history but a continuation of the local history. What makes us think that a thousand years hence the same forces won’t be at work there? Democracy in that part of the world is a blip on the historical screen.Monday, May 29, 2006 at 07:04 #


Constructive Criticism: Children’s right to housing should supersede corporate profit

The Oakland home occupied by Moms 4 Housing. | Photo: Google Maps | Photo: Google Maps

When Dominique Walker and other homeless mothers moved into a vacant home in Oakland this November, they were standing for more than just themselves.

The mothers and their supporters call themselves Moms 4 Housing.

The house they are occupying is a property on Magnolia Street that Oakland-raised Walker saw sit empty on her block for over two years.

“This came out of absolute desperation. These are the times we’re living in, where your only option is to occupy a house or live with your children on the street,” Walker told KALW.

The Magnolia Street home is owned by Wedgewood Inc., a Southern California-based corporation that flips homes. Wedgewood currently owns 125 properties in the Bay Area, according to NBC Bay Area. (This number does not account for Bay Area homes the corporation has already flipped and sold off).

Oakland City Council members Nikki Fortunado Bas, Rebecca Kaplan, and Dan Kalb support the mothers. They have threatened to explore acquiring the home if Wedgewood Inc. refuses to negotiate with the mothers.

But representatives from Wedgewood Inc. aren’t listening. In a public statement on Sunday, Dec. 29, Sam Singer said, “We will not meet or negotiate with the squatter’s organization that broke into our house and is illegally occupying it.”

Wedgewood has taken the mothers to court to evict them from the home. On Monday at the Hayward Hall of Justice, Judge Patrick McKinney II said he would need more time to consider his decision.

Moms 4 Housing’s argument for remaining in the home is that housing is a human right; our already limited rental housing stock should be used for housing, not corporate profit.

Opponents have argued that this is an ethical argument, not a legal one. I agree—our current system of private property is not ethical.

Following the 2008 foreclosure crisis, corporate ownership of our rental stock increased significantly as banks bought up working class Americans’ homes.

More Americans than ever before entered the rental market. By this time, decades of underbuilding had created an unprecedented housing shortage in the Bay Area. These, combined with other factors, created a perfect storm. The inherent power imbalance between landlords and tenants was exaggerated, and corporations now have more power to extort exorbitant rent from their tenants than ever before.

“Before the housing bubble burst, we talked about whether low-income people could afford to buy or rent,” writes Assistant Opinion Editor Tess Townsend of the Sacramento Bee. “Now we talk about whether people can afford rent, or, if not, find a safe place to sleep in their car.”

The system isn’t working. When children are sleeping on the streets, the government has a responsibility to intervene.

One way to do this would be through expropriation—the suggestion of the Oakland City Council members. Expropriation, also called “eminent domain,” is when the government takes property from a private owner. The government must pay the owner the fair market rate for the property and prove in court that they are taking the property to provide a public good.

Eminent domain is used in few circumstances in the United States, and as far as I can tell it has never been granted for use in seizing a corporate-owned property for use as affordable housing.

Expropriation has, however, been used for less ethical purposes. The policy is well known for its use in American highway construction. Our highway system was a flawed project that led the way to vehicles becoming the United States’ primary driver of carbon emissions. Furthermore, when constructing our highways the government chose which land to expropriate in a way that benefited white homeowners at the expense of black Americans. Today black people are more likely to suffer negative health outcomes because they live close to highway pollution, and many highways were constructed to divide black and white neighborhoods, furthering housing segregation.

If we made an argument that this dastardly, segregationist project was a “public good” justifying expropriation, surely we can do the same for affordable housing.

Outside of the United States, there are examples of eminent domain being used successfully for this end.

In June of 2019, Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau made headlines for expropriating a vacant corporate-owned home.

Barcelona has a policy explicitly outlining a process for city acquisition of vacant corporate properties. If a corporation that has many homes in its portfolio leaves a home vacant for two or more years, the city can claim it and use it as municipal housing for up to ten years. Mayor Colau used a rental registry, which keeps track of all the rental properties in a city and the landlords that own them, to determine that the home was kept vacant. Tenant advocates have been pushing for a similar rental registry to be implemented statewide for years.

I hope Moms 4 Housing and their children come out of this situation with stable housing.

Regardless of the outcome of their court case however, the mothers have reignited a movement and forced us to reckon with what it means to provide “housing as a human right.”

The direness of our housing crisis requires bold solutions. It’s time to consider that those solutions might be beyond current legal precedent.

Should corporations be more entitled to a home than our children?

Supporters of Moms 4 Housing can text (510) 800-7810 to receive updates on their case.

Sasha Perigo is a data scientist and fair housing advocate writing about the San Francisco housing crisis. You can follow her on Twitter at @sashaperigo. She is a guest columnist and her point of view is not necessarily that of The Examiner.